Designed specifically for shiny, highly polished surfaces, as well as transparent materials such as plastics, glass, optical components and film/substrates, a new range of 2D/3D blue laser profile sensors (laser line scanners) are now available from precision sensor manufacturer Micro-Epsilon. The sensors are designed for high precision profile and dimensional measurements on a variety of materials where red laser diode sensors do not perform well.
The scanCONTROL BL series of blue laser profile sensors operate using blue (violet) laser technology rather than red. The special characteristics of the blue wavelength laser light make the scanners suitable for measuring against shiny, highly polished metals, as well as red-hot glowing metals and silicon-based materials. All the controls and electronics are integrated in an extremely lightweight, compact sensor design, enabling the scanners to be installed in locations where there may be little space available for mounting. The scanCONTROL BL series offers a range of interfaces and flexible installation options.
Chris Jones, Managing Director at Micro-Epsilon UK comments: “Unlike a red laser, the blue laser operates at a shorter wavelength of 405nm, which is far from the red part of the visible spectrum. This means it is unaffected by the emitted infrared radiation from hot or glowing targets, due to implementing a simple optical filter, which ensures very stable signals. Additionally, when measuring on shiny surfaces or highly polished metals, where red lasers tend to suffer from higher noise, the high precision optics and shorter wavelength of the scanCONTROL blue laser profile sensor performs extremely well, providing much lower noise levels, typically by a factor of two or more compared to red laser sensors.”
The scanCONTROL BL series is available with measuring ranges up to 265mm in the z-axis (distance/profile height) and up to 143.5mm in the x-axis (laser line length/profile width). Output of measurement data is via Ethernet (UDP, Modbus) or serial interface (RS422, Modbus). In addition, analogue signals or digital switching signals can be output directly to a PLC. Profile frequencies of up to 2,000Hz and a measuring rate of up to 2,560,000 points/sec enable the sensors to be used in high speed applications.
Easy integration & connection to PLCs
All scanCONTROL series sensors (blue and red) are equipped with a Gigabit Ethernet interface for transferring profile data, as well as a multi-purpose connector for RS422, Digital In (HTL/TTL), power supply and synchronisation. The sensors support Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), which reduces the need for an additional power cable.
Micro-Epsilon has also released a new LabVIEW driver for scanCONTROL series sensors. The LabVIEW instrument driver 2.4 (available as a 32-bit or 64-bit version) is a convenient interface between sensor and LabVIEW test and measurement environments. As well as updating existing modules, further ones have been added that enable faster, easier set up and configuration of scanCONTROL sensors. In addition, the driver includes several example programs that illustrate the ease of use of these modules.
As Chris Jones states: “A major selling point for the scanCONTROL series is how easy the sensors are to set up and configure for applications. The software programme supplied as standard with the scanner enables the user to configure the device to a unique IP address. A Modbus protocol, which is supported via Ethernet and the RS422 interface, also enables direct connection between the sensor and a PLC and other control systems. We also supply a software development kit and comprehensive command library as standard with the sensor. This provides the user with a communications platform that offers maximum flexibility and performance via direct integration with most common programming languages.”
All scanCONTROL series sensors (blue and red) are designed with a high-speed external profile trigger input. In this way, the data rate can be optimised and measurements can be triggered at a specific event in time. This is particularly beneficial when several systems are operating synchronously. Together with its compact design and simple wiring, scanCONTROL is ideally suited to multi-scanner applications.
As with all scanCONTROL series sensors (including red laser line scanners) from Micro-Epsilon, the scanCONTROL BL series is available in three classes: COMPACT, HIGHSPEED and SMART.
COMPACT scanCONTROL 2900/BL sensors are suitable for both static and dynamic measurement tasks. These compact sensors offer a profile frequency of up to 200Hz and act as profile data providers.
HIGHSPEED scanCONTROL 2950/BL sensors offer everything for advanced high-speed and 3D profile applications. A profile frequency of up to 2,000Hz can be acquired using these sensors, which also serve as pure profile data providers.
SMART scanCONTROL 2910/BL series offers a ‘plug & play’ solution with integrated controller that is suitable for simple-to-complex measurement tasks. The design of the sensor is identical to the COMPACT and HIGHSPEED classes. The scanner evaluates recorded profiles and outputs the measurement values.
The new web-based ‘Application Finder’ intelligent software tool allows users to search for the appropriate laser profile sensor from Micro-Epsilon’s comprehensive scanCONTROL series by considering a number of application-related search criteria. On accessing the Application Finder (http://www.micro-epsilon.co.uk/laser-scanner/applications/index.html) users are presented with three main search criteria: by Material, by Measurement or by Industry. Within each of these sections, users can further refine their searches by clicking on a variety of filters.
For more information on the scanCONTROL BL series, please call the Micro-Epsilon sales department on 0151 355 6070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org